WASHINGTON — In 2014, a soldier from the 65th Infantry Regiment received the Medal of Honor — the first time in the unit’s history that one of its troops has earned the nation’s highest honor for bravery in the fight.
Army Master Sgt. Juan E. Negron, who served with the 65th Infantry Regiment, was one of 24 veterans who received the Medal of Honor on March 18, 2014, in recognition of bravery during major combat operations during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Negron distinguished himself on April 28, 1951, during the Korean conflict, when he refused to leave his position exposed. Instead, he fired deadly fire at enemy forces who had breached a roadblock. The courage and determination displayed by Negron contribute to the distinguished history of the 65th Infantry Regiment.
Nicknamed the “Borinqueneers”, the 65th Infantry Regiment was established in 1899 by the U.S. Congress as a separate unit composed primarily of Puerto Ricans with mostly Continental officers.
-“Borinqueneers” is the combination of the words “Borinquen” (the word given to Puerto Rico by its original inhabitant, the Taino Indians) and “Buccaneers”.
-The unit has the distinction of being the only Hispanic-segregated unit in the history of the Army.
-The Borinqueneers are the only unit in United States military history to be transferred from active duty to the National Guard in 1959.
– The regimental motto of the 65th is “Honor and fidelity”.
-In 1951, General Douglas MacArthur said of the Borinqueneers: “The Puerto Ricans forming the ranks of the valiant 65th Infantry give daily proof on the battlefields of Korea of their courage, their determination and their resolute will of victory, of their invincible loyalty to the United States and their fervent attachment to those immutable principles of human relations which the Americans of the continent and of Puerto Rico have in common. They write a brilliant record of heroism in combat and I’m really proud to have them under my command. I wish we could count on many more like them.”
-During the Korean War, the Borinqueneers launched the last recorded battalion-sized bayonet charge and overran the Chinese 149th Division south of Seoul on February 2, 1951.
-The regimental colors remained in Korea until November 1954, when the unit returned to Puerto Rico.
Hispanic Americans in the United States Army
Medal of Honor: Bravery 24